Tussling with tutsan, the new gorse
Tutsan is a major pest plant with potential to be the ‘‘new gorse’’ in the Waikato.
It is spreading rapidly throughout the region.
Under new rules in Waikato Regional Council’s pest management plan, landowners are required to control it wherever it occurs on their property.
Tutsan, which originated in southern and western Europe, is related to ornamental hypericums (St John’s wort) and looks very similar.
It forms a semi-woody, 1.5 metre tall shrub with reddish stems and small, pleasantsmelling, oval leaves that often turn red in autumn.
Clusters of small, bright yellow, five-petalled flowers with prominent stamens appear from November to February.
These are followed by fleshy, round, red berries, which ripen to black and disintegrate, spreading large amounts of long-lived, dustlike seed far and wide.
You will find tutsan growing along roadsides and waterways.
The plant also loves to grow on scrubland and farmland.
It is difficult to control once established.
A great survivor, this tough plant is tolerant of shade and all temperatures, poor soils and physical damage.
That dust-like seed is widely dispersed into natural areas by wind, birds and agricultural
Tutsan originated in southern and western Europe and is related to ornamental hypericums (St John’s wort).
Tutsan forms a semi-woody, 1.5 metre tall shrub with reddish stems and small, pleasant-smelling, oval leaves.